The school supports Clackmannanshire’s aim of increasing the number of pupils reaching positive destinations. The aim of the ‘Skills Academy’ at Abercromby Primary is to develop skills for learning, life and work from Early to Second Level, across a broad range of curricular areas. The school believe that building confidence to achieve goals should begin as early as possible for all our pupils, alongside equipping them with the skills to achieve this.
Abercromby staff recognise the involvement of our whole school community as being key to driving forward the aims of our Skills Academy. This includes parental involvement and partnerships with the wider community, local business and Forth Valley College. Parents have been involved in planning, leading learning through sharing their knowledge and expertise by giving talks and setting up practical activities and challenges for our learners, as well as volunteering their time to support groups of children on visits.
One afternoon per week is dedicated to skills development for all learners. Activities are planned around ‘I can statements’ from the Careers Education Scotland Standard 3-18 with strong links to Literacy, Numeracy and HWB.
P6 and P7 pupils were allocated to groups based on their future ambitions and interests and worked on a 10 week project. All pupils visited Forth Valley College – Alloa Campus to learn about courses on offer and the facilities. Pupils returned with positive impressions of further education.
There were 5 work streams consisting of:
Food Technology – pupils participated in cookery lessons and focused on skills, hygiene, safety and using equipment. They had a visit from a chef, cake decorator and local butcher who talked about their career paths, qualifications and skills required for their job as well as leading experiences. Pupils also visited the Hospitality Department at Forth Valley College Stirling and the Home Economics department at the local high school.
Design and Manufacture – The pupils visited the Engine Shed in Stirling twice, to learn about the design of buildings, materials, resources and architecture around the world. A local Graphic Designer delivered a session, looking at various companies’ logos and design. Pupils also visited FVC Design and Media Department. Focus on STEM.
Money Sense and Enterprise – Pupils set up their own business, created a name, logo, market research and set up their business, Slime Time.
Community – Pupils worked with a volunteer in the school and community garden, making bird feeders, planting flowers and vegetables. They were also involved in the renovation of Cambus Woods, planting trees and continuing to monitor their progress.
Creativity – Pupils are working towards creating a documentary about our new school. They began by looking at films and discussed the format of a documentary and narrative. They have begun to write storylines for their own film.
Year 2 –
This Session is built on existing practice and extended across the school. There was an initial discussion/lesson and timeline designed by each learner. Each week the children move round in a carousel format to the different planned activities.
Diageo, a local employer are supporting sessions with senior pupils, including 5 week blocks with 2 engineers and 2 scientists. FVC and Robertsons are also supporting 5 week blocks. Their IDL Skills Academy Poster was showcased at a recent conference at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Statistics show that pupils in Clackmannanshire are more likely to be unemployed and less likely to go on to positive destinations on leaving school, than the average pupils in Scotland. Additionally unemployment is closely linked to deprivation deciles. Just under 40% of pupils reside in deciles 1 and 2, which means statistically those pupils are less likely to find employment in future.
The Skills Academy is providing a structure to ensure positive outcomes for our learners. This programme has been designed, taking account of evaluations and feedback . It is tailored to meet the needs of all learners and will continue to develop depending on interests and skills development required to support future goals. This starts in the nursery where children are developing skills through daily activities and increasingly taking on more roles of responsibility.
Abercromby are making the most of all the opportunities afforded by their unique position of having a campus. Partnership with Robertson Construction ensures that pupils from all stages are exposed to experiences related to ‘jobs’ on the site. This involves visiting the site and recording progress in mixed age groups and Robertson staff working with pupils in the school and nursery on numerous activities, with a strong focus on STEM and team building challenges.
All pupils have the opportunity to participate in all activities within their year group, ensuring a well-rounded experience. All are included and participation in this programme which impacts positively on their health and wellbeing, ensuring that they are equipped with the essential skills, knowledge and attributes for further education, the world of work and beyond.
Relationships across our whole school community are stronger, which impacts on learner’s health and wellbeing and future prospects. This partnership has supported the driving of the programme forward. Everyone’s contributions are valued and there is real sense of ‘team’.
Staff have improved their understanding and practice of DYW. A Baseline was completed using the Careers Education Scotland Standard Self-Evaluation Tool. Informed planning with members of staff taking responsibility for planning work streams and activities. Resources to support DYW were purchased through PEF. Staff have enjoyed working with mixed groups of children who are not in their class. Pupils have also benefited from working in different teams.
Pupil have been involved in consultation and evaluations. Pupil are engaged in Skills Academy Learning. They have had careers related experiences they would not have otherwise had. Pupils are thinking more about careers and engaging more in focused discussions about future employment. They are more aware of job opportunities and different roles and skills required for jobs they weren’t aware of before. They have increased their knowledge of local employers. They have been fully engaged and motivated when they have been working with parents and other partners. They have developed new employability skills and have contributed to improving their local environment.